Moab (Moabites)
Dictionary of Bible Names

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Moab (Moabites)
Bible Meaning: Of his father
Strong's Concordance #H4124

Moab was born out of a brief incestuous encounter Lot, whose uncle was Abraham, had with his two daughters. The events took place shortly after he and his daughters fled the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19).

Lot's incest with his eldest daughter produced a child named Moab who was the founder of the Moabites. His illicit sex with his younger daughter produced a son named Benammi who became the founder of the Ammonites (Genesis 19:31 - 38).

Where Did They Live?

Initially, the land of Moab entailed territory, east of the Jordan River, which was both north and south of the Arnon River. The Amorites, however, before they fought the Israelites under Moses, had taken the territory north of the Arnon River (Numbers 21:25 - 26). The kingdom was reduced to territory south of the Arnon to the Zered River.

Map showing Moabite (Moab) Kingdom near Ancient Israel Map
Moabite Kingdom Near Israel

God expressed forbid the Israelites from taking any of Moab's land, as well as that which Edom and Ammon inhabited, as they sought to claim their inheritance in Canaan (Deuteronomy 2:4 - 5, 9, 19).

Interactions with Israel

Moab, with the help of Ammon and Amalek, defeated Israel in battle and dominated them for eighteen years. It took Ehud, who later became a Judge in Israel, to free God's people of this domination (Judges 3:21 - 30).

They also fought Israel during Saul's reign (1Samuel 14:47) and was later conquered by King David. Their gifts to Israel, likely in the form of yearly tribute money, were one of the ways David grew rich (2Samuel 8:2).

The chief God of these people, named Chemosh, was one of the many false deities King Solomon indulged himself and his wives in worshipping. Such worship was part of the reason why Israel was split into two separate nations after Solomon's death (1Kings 11:11, 29 - 32)!


The vanity of Moab, as well as its treatment of Israel, brought declarations of judgment and destruction from prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Zephaniah (Isaiah 16, Jeremiah 48, Ezekiel 25, Zephaniah 2). This destruction took place when Babylon, and later the Persians, came in and conquered their land.

Most Famous

The most famous Biblical Moabite is Ruth (Ruth 1:4, 22). She married an Israelite named Boaz and become the great-grandmother of King David! Ruth is also the only one of two women, the other being Esther, that has a Biblical book named after her.

Important Verses


Genesis 19:36 - 37
Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.


Deuteronomy 2:9
And the Lord said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.

Judges 3:12, 14
And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord.

Zephaniah 2:9
Therefore as I live, saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them . . .

Additional Studies

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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).